What makes radioisotopes useful for dating objects

When scientists first began to compare carbon dating data to data from tree rings, they found carbon dating provided "too-young" estimates of artifact age.Scientists now realize that production of carbon-14 has not been constant over the years, but has changed as the radiation from the sun has fluctuated.

For example, if they believed it would take 200 million years for an ammonite (somehow) to turn gradually into say a dog, then all rocks containing fossil ammonites (the “index fossil”) would be given an “age” 200 million years older than rocks containing fossils of dogs: “…As stated previously, carbon dating cannot be used on artifacts over about 50,000 years old.These artifacts have gone through many carbon-14 half-lives, and the amount of carbon-14 remaining in them is miniscule and very difficult to detect.Nuclear tests, nuclear reactors and the use of nuclear weapons have also changed the composition of radioisotopes in the air over the last few decades.This human nuclear activity will make precise dating of fossils from our lifetime very difficult due to contamination of the normal radioisotope composition of the earth with addition artificially produced radioactive atoms.

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